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Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

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Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

I'll be visiting San Francisco for just a few days in February, and am wanting to spend part of a day driving the coast. My fiance and I are wanting to maybe drive 1-2 hours either north or south of San Fran, hopefully hit a destination to spend some time at, and head back.

Which direction should we head (north or south from San Fran) and is there a destination we could head to? Or maybe a few destinations to check on on the drive?

Also, we're staying near Union Square and will need to rent a car. Any suggestions on where to do that and how to get to the car rental place would be appreciated as well.

Thanks!

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1. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

You could go north along Hwy 1 to Point Reyes National Seashore. It was recently chosen as one of the ten most beautiful places in the US by Good Morning America:

…go.com/Travel/…

You would also see the Golden Gate Bridge and a spectacular stretch of coastline while driving the Coastal Highway between Muir Beach and Stinson Beach. You could also visit some awesome viewpoints of the Golden Gate and San Francisco by detouring up into the Marin Headlands, take a walk among the redwoods at Muir Woods, and drive up to Mt. Tamalpais State Park for incredible views of the entire Bay Area. If you do make this drive, make sure it's a nice day. It's no fun in the rain.

The other alternative is to drive south on Hwy 1 towards Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz. There's some neat restaurants in Half Moon Bay and there are scenic views of the coastline along this route too. This might be a better option if the weather is not so good.

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2. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

For car rentals, use a travel site to get a good deal and you can pick up the car from the Union Square area. You can always enter your hotel's address and get the closest location to your hotel.

I hope you have enough time to see SF as well.

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3. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

At Pt Reyes there is a path where you can stand with one foot on one side of the San Andreas fault and your other foot on the other side of the fault. Jumping up and down to cause a quake has not worked for me. Yet.

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4. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

Thanks for the ideas!

sf
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5. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

I agree with Super,but caution 1-2 hrs is really too short a time to get to the destinations except just across the GGB, and spend any time enjoying the surrounding area. Point Reyes alone will take an hour to reach after crossing the GGB, depending on weather & traffic, Better figure on 3-4 hrs.

Half Moon Bay is the same time w/o the bridge.

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Half Moon Bay
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6. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

Depends on what kind of place you want to end at. Going North is much more rural. Go north if you want to get away from people, commune with nature, hike, etc.

If you want to end up in a city with restaurants, shopping and civilization go south to Santa Cruz. It's the surf / beach town. Then you can return to SF via the faster inland route 17/85/280, which is also scenic through the mountains. I prefer south myself.

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7. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

Point Reyes, Half Moon Bay, and Santa Cruz are all within 2 hours of downtown SF unless you are driving during the commute, then it may take longer depending on your timing and direction.

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8. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

Although I love the area north of San Francisco, I agree with those who recommend a trip to Santa Cruz down Highway 1 and back via 17 and 280. Stop in Pescadero and have lunch at Duarte's Tavern. Check out the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk if it's open, or browse downtown Santa Cruz.

Edited: 03 January 2012, 20:51
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9. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

I think you would enjoy the drive down the coast to Santa Cruz. On the way there is a lighthouse, an elephant seal preserve, and here is what to see and do when you get to Santa Cruz.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g33048-c133677/Santa-…

To get back to the city follow Simbot's directions. Just watch for the Hwy 85 exit from Hwy 17 shortly after Los Gatos.

An enjoyable trip, IMO.

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10. Re: Short drive on Hwy 1 from San Fran

Is the traffic leaving from downtown SF really congested? If possible I'd like to try and use public transportation to get outside of the downtown and to a rental car place, if that's the case.

Great suggestions everyone...we obviously have some thinking to do. But I know we're planning on spending a day in the Marin Headlands as well, so going south might be the best choice.